Groundwater hydrochemistry—revealing hidden secrets

water sampling of groundwater

Groundwater chemistry sampling on an artesian bore in SA. Source: Geoscience Australia

All water has a distinct chemical signature, known as its hydrochemistry, based on quantities of various dissolved chemical elements in addition to H2O.

Hydrochemistry information can be a powerful tool for tracking groundwater flow and managing groundwater in a sustainable way.
 
It can also provide powerful insights into the source of the water, its quality and possible uses.

We’ve collaborated with Geoscience Australia to include hydrochemistry data for more than 500 bores across Australia in the Australian Groundwater Explorer.

Geoscience Australia collects a range of hydrochemistry data on a project basis including:
  • common measures, such as pH and electrical conductivity
  • major and minor ions, such as sodium and calcium
  • environmental tracers, such as oxygen-18, carbon-13
  • radioactive isotopes such as chloride-36 and carbon-14
  • nutrients such as nitrate
  • gases such as nitrogen gas.
These data are now available in the Explorer as a table, and can be downloaded for further analysis.

Screenshot of Australian Groundwater Explorer showing bore locations containing hydrochemistry data. Visit http://www.bom.gov.au/water/groundwater/explorer/ to access an interactive map or text-based interface.
Location of bores with hydrochemistry data in the Australian Groundwater Explorer
 
The Explorer has also been updated with the latest groundwater level data, along with minor fixes. Bore mapping has also been improved so all bore layers are now visible at the national scale.

Access hydrochemistry through the Australian Groundwater Explorer.